By: Eli Zemach
The time shortly following the conclusion of the Stanley-Cup, just around summer time, tends to be a time of great distress among those active in the hockey world. Players are getting traded left and right, teams are re-signing players, buying out contracts, and looking to upgrade for the coming year. This year, with the addition of the Seattle Kraken into the 32nd NHL team slot, we were able to witness the drafting of a new team and are now able to analyze the league-wide ramifications and reactions. With so many big names like Vladamir Tarasenko, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, and Carey Price available for the taking, it seemed the general consensus was that this new Seattle team would look fantastic. It seemed Seattle Kraken General Manager Ron Francis had his picks laid out for him, but he chose a different path selecting: Vince Dunn over Vladamir Tarasenko, Joonas Donskoi over Gabriel Landeskog, Calle Jarnkrok over Matt Duchene, and Cale Fleury over vezina winning goaltender Carey Price.
Factoring in all the salary cap and injury concerns, it still seems there were some more beneficial selections for Seattle available. Another surprising outcome of this expansion draft was the lack of assets Seattle was able to require in exchange for not selecting star players from other teams. Since the draft, Seattle has made merely two trades, sending Kurtis MacDermid to Colorado for a 4th round pick in 2023, and sending Tyler Pitlick to the Calgary Flames for a 4th round pick in 2022. It seemed Seattle had to be loading up on assets to not select players like Gabriel Landeskog or Matt Duchene, but it seems they may have come up short.
Since Seattle’s much anticipated roster confirmation, many other NHL teams are making notable roster changes as well. One of the most notable teams transacting during this time is the Florida Panthers who seem to be stockpiling 2014 1st round picks. Bill Zito and his team have been able to rid Florida of its defensive and salary cap concerns in buying out Keith Yandle and trading Anton Stralman. Zito was also able to bring in a 50+ point scorer in Sam Reinhart, and re-sign Sam Bennett, Anthony Duclair, Brandon Montour, and Carter Verhaeghe to team friendly deals all with AAV’s below 4.5 million. Zito will also be bringing back former Panthers forward Maxim Mamin after an impressive regular season and playoffs in the KHL. Mamin has played 33 games with the Panthers since being drafted in 2016 and has spent the last two seasons with CSKA Moscow in the KHL.
Notable Moves Through July
Moves: Cam Atkinson to Philadelphia, Jakub Voracek to Columbus, Sam Reinhart to Florida, Anton Stralman to Arizona, Marc-André Fleury to Chicago, Conor Garland and Oliver Ekman-Larson to Vancouver, Pavel Buchnevich to St. Louis, Seth Jones to Chicago, Rasmus Ristolainen to Philadelphia,
Contract buyouts: Keith Yandle, Brayden Holtby, Jake Virtanen
Resignings: Cale Makar (COL: 6y x $9m), Sam Bennett (FLA: 4y x $4.4m), Paul Stastny (WPG: 1y x $3.75m), Joel Armia (MTL: 4y x $3.4m), Alex Ovechkin (WSH: 5y x $9.5M), Taylor Hall (BOS: 4y x $6m)